- Advertisement -

Vladimir Putin’s ‘rocket man’ Vladimir Nesterov dies: Fourth official in days to ‘die mysteriously’

18

Putin’s ‘rocket man’ becomes latest senior Russian official to mysteriously die – days after top former Kremlin general was found dead on Christmas Day

  • Man who made Putin’s dreams of space exploration possible has died aged 74 
  • He is the fourth senior official with Russian links to die mysteriously in days
  • There have been suggestions Putin is ‘clearing out’ his inner circle and critics
  • Alexander Buzakov and General Alexei Maslov both suddenly died this week
  • Putin critic and sausage tycoon Pavel Antov fell to his death before Christmas

The man who made Vladimir Putin’s dreams of space exploration possible has died aged 74.

Vladimir Nesterov, is the latest casualty this year among Russia’s elite and the fourth official reported dead in a matter of days. 

He pioneered the new ‘world’s best’ Angara rocket and was the former general director of the Khrunichev Centre, which Putin hoped would facilitate Russia’s first manned mission to the moon.

Since 2014, Nesterov has been dogged by persistent allegations of fraud and embezzlement. 

Vladimir Nesterov, is the latest casualty this year among Russia’s elite and the fourth senior official reported dead in a matter of days

He pioneered the new 'world's best' Angara rocket and was the former general director of the Khrunichev Centre, which Putin hoped would facilitate Russia's first manned mission to the moon

He pioneered the new ‘world’s best’ Angara rocket and was the former general director of the Khrunichev Centre, which Putin hoped would facilitate Russia’s first manned mission to the moon

Authorities accused him of pocketing upwards of £57million, and he had been under house arrest pending further investigation.

Nesterov’s cause of death has not been revealed. 

Alexander Buzakov, 65, director general of Admiralty Shipyards, in charge of building new submarines armed with deadly Kalibr missiles, also unexpectedly died earlier this week.

And General Alexei Maslov, 69, former commander of Russian ground forces with close ties to Ukraine, died ‘suddenly’ on Christmas day, after Putin abruptly cancelled a trip to the tank enterprise where he worked as an international sales ambassador.

Buzakov had been healthy the day before he died, and ‘nothing had been heard about Maslov’s health problems’.

Authorities accused him of pocketing upwards of £57million, and he had been under house arrest pending further investigation. Nesterov's cause of death has not been revealed

Authorities accused him of pocketing upwards of £57million, and he had been under house arrest pending further investigation. Nesterov’s cause of death has not been revealed

Alexander Buzakov

General Alexei Maslov

Days earlier, Alexander Buzakov (left), 65, d in charge of building new submarines armed with deadly Kalibr missiles, also suddenly died. And General Alexei Maslov (right) , 69, former commander of Russian ground forces with close ties to Ukraine, died ‘suddenly’ on Christmas day

Maslov had been commander-in-chief of Russian ground forces between 2004 and 2008.

Similarly, sausage tycoon and Russian MP Pavel Antov, 65, fell to his death from a window in an Indian hotel in another case that has aroused suspicion.

In June, Antov criticised the war and air strikes on Kyiv as Russian ‘terror’ wounding Ukrainian civilians.

He highlighted a Russian missile strike and said: ‘A girl has been pulled out from under the rubble, the girl’s father appears to have died.

‘The mother is trying to be pulled out with a crane – she is trapped under a slab. To tell the truth, it is extremely difficult to call this anything other than terror.’

He evidently then swiftly came under intense pressure after which he withdrew the comment and made a grovelling apology.

He made an about-turn and claimed his post on social media had been ‘an unfortunate misunderstanding’ and a ‘technical error’.

He insisted he had ‘always supported the president’ and ‘sincerely’ backed the goals of Putin’s military operation – but local journalists strongly disputed this.

This year, at least 10 Russian oligarchs and critics have died under mysterious circumstances, amid suggestions Putin is ‘cleansing’ his inner circle. 

Russian MP Pavel Antov, 65, who previously criticised the war in Ukraine, was found dead in India after 'falling from a third floor hotel window'

Russian MP Pavel Antov, 65, who previously criticised the war in Ukraine, was found dead in India after ‘falling from a third floor hotel window’

Advertisement

- Advertisement -